It is the responsibility of every government to ensure that its citizens access quality education. Scholars believe that education is a key to success. Therefore, making education accessible to all citizens in a country is the first step towards development and social change. In Canada, attaining tertiary education is a monumental challenge to people with limited resources. However, the case is slightly different in the province of Ontario.
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The provincial government of Ontario has been working closely with the federal government of Canada to facilitate education loans for needy students in the province. The two governments developed a program called Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), which coordinates funding of post-secondary education in the province.
OSAP is funding provided by the Ontario government to individuals interested in pursuing education beyond high school level. However, not everyone is eligible to receive funds provided by the program. Funding depends on the income of the applicant’s parents, the program pursued by the applicant, the institution (University or College), student status (full-time or part-time) and any other exceptional circumstances that may arise.
In order to receive funding from OSAP, three policies must apply. The first policy is approval of the applicant’s program. The second policy is establishing the income of the applicant’s family. The third policy is how much funding is possible. Students use the funds received to finance their tuition and other education expenses. The cost of tuition and living expenses can be crippling regardless of the student’s program.
Efforts made to fund tertiary education are essential for most students. However, the policies in place leave many students unable to afford their education. A student’s program choice, their family income, and the limit on how much funding is possible are just a few of the many policies leaving students struggling financially. The charter of rights states that everyone should have equal opportunity to education.
According to the charter, people should not worry about the government setting cost for tertiary education at an unaffordable level. Since the 1990’s, the average tuition fee in Ontario has been marginally higher than the national average. Currently, Ontario is the most expensive province by a noticeable amount for tertiary education.
The cost of education has been escalating at a rate of 5% each year. The cost of tertiary education in Ontario for 2015/2016 could be 2.5 times the cost of tuition in the early 1990. The cost of tertiary education makes it difficult for many parents to finance their children’s education.
The government of Ontario has been instrumental in funding college and university education through OSAP. The Ministry of Training in coordination with tertiary institutions is responsible for fair administration of OSAP. This program helps needy students who are unable to finance their tertiary education. Government officials vet all loan applicants. This ensures that only eligible students in Ontario receive assistance from the program.
However, this program supplements the payment of tertiary education and not everything. A student should contribute some money towards their tertiary education. The central government facilitates the program through federal and provincial governments to ensure equal distribution of funds.
Apart from OSAP, the government also channels funds through the Canada Students Loans Program. The Federal government in harmonization with the Department of Human Resources and Social Development administers this program. The loans granted to students are free of any interest for a maximum period of seven years. However, a small percentage of interest applies on the loan after seven years.
This applies to encourage students to pay up their loans after graduating. The Ontario First Generation Bursary is another agency that supports needy students in Ontario. The government provides funds for this program that only supports students in public tertiary institutions.
The other program that supports needy students is the Ontario Crown Ward Post Secondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program. This program covers application fees for eligible candidates. OSAP financial aid comprises a range of programs that include grants and student loans.
The government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario rely on tax proceeds as well as contributions from the private sector to fund education programs. Private financial institutions offer tertiary education loans to willing borrowers who fail to meet the government criteria for getting government loans.
Some of the key players in these programs include the National Students Loans Service Centre, which offers information on the loan application process and the procedure for repaying the loan. Various parties have expressed a range of views on programs that fund tertiary education.
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The conservative view believes investment in education helps students to succeed and be competitive in the market. Liberal view believes that everyone in Canada deserves access to affordable education. Democrats believe that support systems are plentiful and propose that tuition should be frozen and lowered in Canada. Marxist view believes that it is advantageous to provide free education for those who intend to pursue it.
The government can improve their support services by increasing the areas they cover, setting more conditions for money use and fixing the loan repayment schedule. Since students are required to pay this loan after they have successfully completed their college education, it has been an enormous challenge for most of them because of the current repayment scheme.